Lazio captain Ciro Immobile admitted he is ‘a little hurt’ after receiving criticism from the fans following his slow start to the season.
The 33-year-old Italian striker has only managed two goals across nine appearances this season, looking a shadow of the player who has netted 198 goals in 306 games for the club over the last seven years.
Immobile also struggled to show his best last season and fans have started to lose patience, with some calling for greater usage of new signing Valentin Castellanos, who played a key role in the recent 3-2 win over Atalanta.
Speaking in an interview with Il Messaggero (via La Lazio Siamo Noi), Immobile first discussed how he feels hearing the criticisms from Lazio fans.
Yes, I’m a little hurt. I will find the back of the net again. The problem is not that. Perhaps many forget that when I arrived here in 2016, it wasn’t like it is now. It wasn’t even known who the coach would be.
Now that we’re playing the Champions League, do they want to leave me out? It doesn’t seem like the best recognition to me. But I carry on, as I always have.
He was asked if this was his hardest period at Lazio so far.
No. The first year was perhaps the most complicated because my people had to learn to know me and they said everything.
Now there is only a small part of the people, who I don’t even know whether to define as true Lazio fans, who dispute me.
I don’t think the real Lazio fans can tell me anything, I don’t believe it. It’s just a matter of time and I will make even the most skeptical change their minds.
The 33-year-old Italian striker commented on the interest from Saudi Arabia in the summer.
It’s a solution that I considered this summer when some offers arrived, but then I decided to refuse them for the national team and the Champions League.
After such a start to the season, I asked myself a few questions, especially after the criticism of some, fortunately not all, who did not see and appreciate the gesture but immediately presented the bill.
This hurts me, actually it makes me waver. And now my thoughts are no longer the same as in July. Some days, when I was more down in the dumps, I thought ‘it would be better if I left’.
Immobile was asked if he was still thinking about playing until the end of his career with Lazio.
Right now I’d say yes and no. I don’t want to answer right away, I’ve been thinking about it for a while with my family. In the meantime I have to get back into shape and on the pitch at my best. Once I succeed, I can really decide.
Now I would say no because I’m in a bad period and I’m injured, but if I had scored 20 goals I would say yes. So my decision shouldn’t be dictated by the moment. Surely if before I was very convinced of staying for life, now I’m a little less so. I’m a little hurt.
He spoke about his plans for the future.
Definitely at Lazio, but I don’t know in what role. The president will decide, he will find something for me, he will never question everything I have done.
I love Lazio. And they say that the more you love something, the more you feel bad about it and that’s what’s happening to me.
What I have always said, and what I regret, is that before evaluating what is done on the pitch, I would like people to also evaluate me for who I am off the pitch, as a man.
I have never said a word out of place, the Roma fans when they meet me on the street tell me ‘We have never seen you make a provocation towards us’ and for this they respect me.
The real Lazio fans have always recognised me first as a person and then as a footballer, and we saw it on Sunday afternoon too.
Even here at the club they decided to make me captain, not because I had more appearances, but because of the role and responsibilities I took on. There are many components that pushed me to give everything for the shirt I wear.
Finally, Immobile was asked if the paper should title the interview ‘Lazio for life’.
No, because then people would only stop at the title, while I don’t know what will happen in January or June.
I have never been afraid to question myself, neither when I went abroad nor when I returned here. We will see.